Dirty Deeds Book Review and Interview with Mark Evans
Dirty Deeds My Life Inside/Outside of AC/DC begins with an introduction to life for Evans on the fourth storey of a twelve storey block of flats in Melbourne, the opening chapter outlines Evans “rough-as-nails” upbringing.
In spite of his upbringing, Evans managed to land his first job in the public service, which Evans readily admits to have deliberately squandered – albeit Evans seemed to have an innate ability to land on his feet….and perchance at the doorstep to an opportunity of landing himself the gig as AC/DC’s new bass player.
Evans could hardly have predicted the huge impact that this chance encounter would have on his life.
Within one week, Evans went from auditioning with AC/DC to making his first appearance on national TV’s Countdown, with bandmate Bon Scott making an entrance as a pigtailed schoolgirl, smoking a cigarette, wearing make-up and flashing his underwear.
Although Evans spent two years from 1975 to 1977 as an AC/DC insider, a relatively short period in the context of the band’s 38 year epic history, Evans is the only member of the band to write about the experience from such a vantage point. Those two years offer a small yet significant glimpse into what it was like to be part of the inner sanctum of AC/DC and at a formative time with the band on the cusp of becoming a globally recognized name and with Evans playing bass on some of AC/DC’s most important albums: High Voltage*, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and Let There Be Rock.
Evans recounts his early impression of the Youngs, the brothers who barely dropped their guard save for the odd brief occasion and who were a hardworking, driven but private family with a tendency to be a bit standoffish towards outsiders.
Whether this is deliberate reticence on Evans part or maybe the Youngs’ were just not the type of people you could get close to is for the reader to deduce, however, Evans had already figured, from day one, that the Youngs’ were a tad cold, unlike Evans who comes across as someone who effuses warmth and friendliness. A trait which may have ironically worked against him.
What Dirty Deeds delivers, is a profuse helping of hilarious anecdotes and this alone would be worth getting the book for. The book is peppered with tales from the front line; from barroom brawls and rampant teenagers to breaks for tea and ciggies and almost anything in between.
Learning at the initial audition that Scott and Rudd were in the band sealed the deal from the start as far as Evans was concerned. The only cue Evans received which stood out as being somewhat odd came from the band's driver Ralph who offered up some friendly advice that he’d do well to remember that AC/DC was Malcolm’s band.
The fact that Evans seemed to be more aligned with AC/DC’s late frontman Bon Scott who had already made a somewhat colorful impression on Evans several years earlier, and that of Phil Rudd who became Evans regular roommate and confidante adds an interesting perspective to the book.
The book continues to offer nuggets of information such as how “It’s a long way to the top” was filmed and how the intricate use of bagpipes – which seemed like a good idea at the time - restricted the use of the song in a live set, with even the backup solution coming to an untimely if sudden demise, much to Scott’s disdain.
Dirty Deeds also includes Evans in-depth and well-recollected account of the two-week recording process of those early albums with the heavy involvement of older brother George Young and Harry Vanda.
Evans retrospectively ponders his position in the band and several events which contributed to his sacking, laying a good portion of the blame undeservedly on his own shoulders and readily admitting that he walked away from, rather than facing and perhaps confronting certain situations.
Time has moved on – some thirty-plus years - and so has Evans life. The rest of the book, and final chapter is dedicated to keeping the reader updated with Evans ‘new’ life, encompassing Evans new musical direction, that of meeting with other musicians such as George Harrison and members of Metallica through Evans vintage guitar shop as well as his personal life touched by tragedy. The final chapter is one of inspiration and poignancy adding another perspective to what is already an outstanding memoir.
Dirty Deeds : My Life Inside/Outside of AC/DC is now available for purchase.